Sunday, April 8, 2018

Neighborhood Reads - Washington, MO

Neighborhood Reads, Washington, MO
(Like The Indie Bob Spot on Facebook and follow The Indie Bob Spot on Twitter)

This bookstore has been on my radar for quite awhile and now I can happily say that I've finally visited.  This was an especially fun visit because Dawn K., the owner, has been a faithful follower of The Indie Bob Spot for the almost 10 months the store has been open.  Heck, she actually started following before the store even opened.  So this is another one in the wave of those newly opened bookstores that I'm seeing all over the country and like the many other newbies I've visited, I couldn't have been more impressed.

For someone with no background in business or retail, Dawn can check off all the boxes that successful bookstores need.  Author events?  Check.  Weekly story time?  Check.  Book fairs and partnerships with schools?  Check.  Book clubs and knitting clubs?  Check.  Customer incentives, community involvement, store promotions?  Check, check, and double check.  And I'm sure there is MUCH more than this.  So while Dawn may not have the business background, she does have a passion of advocating for reading and literacy for children which this store is dedicated to promoting.  Her other job at the local paper also helps to deliver this message with monthly book reviews for all ages of readers.  She, along with good friend and colleague Chris S., really provide a one-two punch for support of the bookstore and the importance of reading.  

The store is in a house that is over 100 years old.  They remodeled the interior, added some great original art work on the walls and floors, and built on a beautiful addition for a meeting and events space.  As all new bookstore owners know, this takes a lot of work.  Dawn is blessed with a GREAT team of family and friends that helped to pull this off.  And now customers are able to visit and appreciate a store that offers all new books and a variety of sidelines in multiple rooms of a historic house.  The children's section and sidelines are particularly strong thanks to Dawn's talent for this genre.  If nothing else, you need to come here to be enthusiastically welcomed by Benji, the shop dog.  Just meeting Benji will guarantee a better day for anyone!
I'm such a sucker for bookstore dogs and Benji is a softie who will welcome you shortly after you enter the store.  

The store is off to a great start but that momentum must be maintained in order to impact the community in a positive manner (shop local, buy local, keep your money in your community).  Local leaders, teachers, civil servants, and others can all set a GREAT example by patronizing a terrific local business.  So many towns much larger than Washington's 13,000 have nothing like this.  Washington, wrap your arms around this gem of a bookstore and don't ever let it get away.  Congratulations Dawn and congratulations Washington.  Go to an indie and buy a book.  Bonsoir.

CURRENTLY READING:  Stephen Florida, Gabe Habash.  

RECENTLY PURCHASED:  Exit West, Mohsin Hamid.    

Another exterior view.  This picture is going to look incredibly better in a couple of weeks.  If you look in front of the sidewalk, you can see a variety of flowers coming up and getting ready to bloom.  

One of the display windows with a reminder that Mother's Day is around the corner.  Pick up your gift and card here.  

View looking into the store from the front entrance.  

View looking into the room to the left of the front entrance.  

This is in the room to the right of the front entrance.  Dawn's expertise is with children's items and this is one of the nice displays for kids (and grandparents!).  

I've seen these books in a few other stores and I think they're great.  Washable, rip proof, chew proof, and nontoxic.  Perfect for the drooler in your family.  

Ask how you can adopt a bookshelf in the store, a great promotion.  

View looking toward the rear of the store through the second two rooms on the right side of the store.  The room in the foreground is mostly children's, the room beyond is a large events space.  Thanks to a lot of great help, Dawn was able to build-on this addition.  

A few of the sidelines available.  

A great addition to the original building.  Picture your bookclub in this space.  

Two great places to sit and test drive a book.  

A portion of the books of local interest.  

You can always find something for any budget at a bookstore.

Dawn uses the walls of the main hallway to display a few of the greeting cards available.  

There are some sidelines displayed here but I was more impressed by the great work on the wall, thanks to Dawn's daughter.  

Why drive to KC for a soy candle when you can get them right here in Washington?

A nice table display of sidelines in the back room.  

Talent can not only be found on a bookstore staff, but also with the people who helped put the store together.  In the back room, take a look at the great artwork under your feet thanks to a middle school art teacher.  

This is the room to the left inside the front entrance but this view is from a doorway that approaches it from the back of the store.  

A rare glimpse of these two celebrities together.  Informed readers may recognize a rare photo of the celebrity on the right actually facing the camera.  Yes, that's my mom.  All others will definitely recognize one of the country's favorite celebrity shop dogs, Benji.  

A nice table display of staff picks.  

A view from the back room looking straight through the main hallway to the front entrance.  

Every single teacher in the Washington area should be all over this.  Set the example.  Shop local, buy local.  

Set up a birthday party in the store for your child's birthday, a great idea.  

Readers, honestly you're lucky that this blog entry doesn't feature about 25 pictures of this lovable guy and one picture of the store.  Here, Benji is on the lookout for more customers.  Prepare to be welcomed to the store.  

Two of the fine folks you'll meet at Neighborhood Reads.  Dawn in the center and Benji on the right.  Thanks for a great visit.  

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